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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 12


"Be not deceived."

As has been seen, Satan and his emissaries, disguised as "angels of light," by wrong impressions are ever seeking to ruin souls, and to divert God's children from their divinely appointed mission. He always shapes his methods to his victims, and whom he can not openly allure he seeks to subtly deceive. He accomplishes his purpose with many impressions in a way something like that by which we poison rats. We do not throw down a lot of strychnine and say, "Rats, eat it and die." We take just a little and mingle it with some meal so concealed that they will not suspect the poison, and then they eat the meal, and with it poison enough to cause their death. So Satan takes the meal of divine truth and mingles with it enough error to accomplish his purpose, and men eat and are betrayed.

Hence, we find that as a pan of meal which is prepared with poison appears precisely like one which is free from it, and would pass as harmless unless analyzed, so impressions from below may be apparent counterparts of those from above. They may exactly resemble them in the following important particulars:

1. They are inward impressions made upon our spirits.

2. They are often very strong impressions. Fanaticism is born in the land of strong but wrong impressions.

3. They occur repeatedly. See how Satan persisted with our first parents, with Job, and with Jesus. He will keep repeating his messages as long as he can deceive his victims into giving him a hearing, and all of his agents are possessed of like perseverance.

4. They frequently occur during prayer and other devotions. Nothing is more in keeping with their object than to divert from communion with God, hence the idea that impressions are of God simply because they occur at such times is erroneous. They may be from Him and they may be from below.

5. Like good impressions they may be brought to us by our friends. Job had more trouble from his friends than from both affliction and Satan combined. Though they meant well the impressions they made were not from above. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, Job's misguided counselors, have had their counterparts in all ages.

6. Wrong impressions, like good ones, may be attended by a chain of circumstances which seem to confirm their truthfulness. Satan is allowed great latitude, and shows great cunning in arranging his program to thwart divine purposes; selfish human nature also is eagle-eyed to claim as providential indications that were never so designed. It might have seemed providential to the assassin Booth that Lincoln was at the theater that fatal night, but does that prove that the murderer's impressions were of God?

From Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

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